Thursday, December 29, 2016

More bands to watch in 2017!

Nova Twins
Of all the bands I have seen in 2016, the one which seems the most obvious shoo-in for 2017 success is Nova Twins. A trio who recently played the Afro-punk festival in London. Which seems an apt description of the bands sound. Which is a bass-guitar heavy mix of fast raps and punk attitude. They lie somewhere between the  current revival's of both punk and grime. They seem like the perfect band for the times we live in.

Injury Reserve
Do you ever listen to a band and wonder how are these guy's not huge? Injury Reserve are the  upstarts that US Hip-Hop desperately needs right now. In some ways they resemble the Native Tongues movement in New York during the late 80's and early 90's where De La Soul, a tribe Called Quest and The Jungle Brothers put their own unique spin on the sounds of the time. IJ's new free album 'FLOSS' continues the dental theme of their début and with it the witty self depreciating lyrics and elements of trap and 'jazz-rap'. The imaginative production and BARS! put the current crop of mumble rappers and their producers to shame. With tunes such as 'Oh Shit! and 'All this Money' surely they should be huge soon?

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
They may have graced this list before and already have a big cult following, but they are on this list because they are amazing live and because they will release FIVE albums next year. All of them will be great.  

Levelz are a commune of MC's and producers from Manchester. Grime from anywhere but London can get a bit ignored, which is a shame as their début mixtape LVL11 is one of the most exciting new projects to hit the scene  in a long time. Mixing humour, politics, Ska, Garage, D&B, a load of skunk  and thick manc accents into an exhilarating whole.

Raised By Owls 
If you love Grindcore but also don't take your self seriously, then Raised By Owls will be your new favourite band. Their début EP 'The Great British Grind Off' is a crash course in everything that makes our country great. Mary Berry, Cliff Richard, Bruce Forsythe, Sunday Roasts, Harry Potter and much much more are celebrated via the medium of ear destroying-ly noisy Grindcore.

It's no secret that I am a big fan of Crywank, and the reaction I get when I tell people that my favourite band is called Crywank. James and Dan have been living a nomadic life, recording hundreds of demo's and touring up and down the country. They've built up a cult following, while their last album was the 2nd best of 2016 (on my list anyway). 'Don't piss on me I'm already dead' is a huge step up from the bands lo-fi acoustic sound. Mixing punk rock with sad folk and painfully honest lyrics. 2017 is likely to see more material and more gigs following it up. Crywank's cult following is sure to keep growing.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Crywank Live at the Actress and Bishop review (11/12/16)

The first time I saw Crywank it was at the Wagon and Horses in Digbeth. The supports were Craterface and Luke Rainsford. In a bit of a coincidence, once again all three acts were set to play a small festival at the same location. This festival was cancelled and moved to the Actress and Bishop for only £5 and then put on as free entry. The first act  I saw was James Lees who wears his admiration for Luke Rainsford  on his sleeve, or rather his shirt. His acoustic songs are very much in the same vein, heartfelt and moving.  As were the songs played by Craterface in his unmistakeable growl. Luke Rainsford was accompanied by a drummer, tapping out beats on a wooden box, much like Crywank later on.  While his new album has been announced for next year the songs were all favourites from his début album I'm nothing like my dad turned out to be. As usual he bought along a fan-base of pretty girls, all  ready to to cry at his sad acoustic songs. Yet despite the sad songs and the news that Luke's pop-punk band Layover have called it a day, The show was a nice way to cap off what has been an eventful year for Luke
Crywank were easy to spot, with James now sporting a meter tall red hat on top of his footlong  black hair and black trench coat. The pub wasn't packed but there were some definite Crywank fans in the audience. While 'Dan the Snail' now has a full drumkit and Crywank's last album used electric guitars, this show was business as usual for the lo-fi acoustic duo. Despite the sadness of songs the show was a lot of fun. With airing of fan favourites 'coolest kid in the world' and 'song about paper clips' (at my request). Older favourites, 'Memento Mori' and 'Song for a guilty Sadist' are more vibrant and noisy than on the bands records and far better for it. I can only hope that Crywank put out a live album at some point.

Crywanks'  album 'Don't piss on me I'm already dead' was my 2nd best album on 2016. Luke Rainsford's début album was also on the list at 35.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

FALLS The Flapper 18/12/16 leftover photos

 Click for better quality.

FALLS, Enquiry, Live at The Flapper review (18/12/16) - Part 2

'Digbeth Sadcore' trio Enquiry's last EP was titled 'What a time to be alive'. It came out weeks before the terrible Drake/Future project of the sane name. They got thousands of streams from very confused Drake fans. This show was the first gig of theirs for well over a year and the fist time I've seen them in 3 years. Yet despite all the hatred from Drake fans (cheekily acknowledged by their singers Drake T shirt) and lack of shows, Enquiry played a set that was tight and energetic. Sounding as if they hadn't been gone a day and gaining fanfare from the crowd that alluded them last time around. They even had a surprise guest scream from Someone said Fire/Crime And Punishment 2011's Joey Sniper. Later on I bought a t shirt of theirs for £3. It has a cat on it.

By the time you read this FALLS (8.4) will have split up. Their penultimate show was a celebration of their short career that made Christmas look tame and dull. In an age where male beauty standards are as unrealistic as women's FALLS wore their slightly chubby, hairy, sweaty, tattoo covered dad bods with pride. Both looking and sounding like a Biffy Clyro that never reached the point where their frantic garage rock reached an mainstream audience. What made the show special and frequently hilarious was FALLS complete inability to give a shit any-more. From openly admitting who their diss track was about and both naming and slagging the metalcore band off**. Admitting their sudden lack of relevance 'We were never cool anyway, so who the fuck cares' and asking an audience member (me) to read out the exact time before shouting 'you're wrong! It's romance time!
They were happy to plonk their mic stand wherever they wanted and sing along with their fans and other band members. The whole gig had a great feeling of community from all of the bands and fans which is a rare thing. FALLS penultimate gig was a laugh a minute show with brief intervals of frantic math-rock. If you want to hear a band who is now completely irrelevant then you can check out their new 'Cream' EP.



ALLUSONDRUGS, Wax Futures. Live at The Flapper review (18/12/16)

Telfords' 'Slacker Post-Hardcore' trio 'Wax Futures' (7.2) got the party started and set the Christmas jumper dress code for what was to be a celebration of Falls' very short career. Their short set was full of laughs as their singer (who could easily play in -Ned Flanders themed metal band- Okily Dokily). did impressions of American Nu-Metal bands, and begged us to all buy their merch so his wife can have the spare room back. while the crowd may have requested 'Wonderwall' Wax futures own song 'Breadcrumbs' impressed me and the crowd with it's math-rockish take on Weezer nerd-rock.
In a surprising move, having just finished a headline tour of the UK my faves ALLUSONDRUGS (8) were relegated to 2nd on the bill. Part of the joy of following this band since first seeing them live three years ago is seeing their constant evolution. The departure of a founder member, songwriter and guitarist would be a tough blow for most bands. After Damian Hughes' departure their music seems sparser and lacking in guitar melodies. Yet they seemed determined to fill his space with as much guitar pedal effects as possible. Their singer, Jason looks a bit like the dude from Yazoo* with his new haircut and threads. While he seems a bit more serious on stage. He was less of a joker and refrained from gobbing on the ceiling. Overall It was business as usual for the UK's most underrated rock band. New single 'Good People' was a hit with the crowd as well as older cuts like Nervous and a rare performance of 'what's the porn like in heaven ted?' Later on FALLS talked about how someone needs to make ALLUSONDRUGS rich and famous and I couldn't agree more.

Next up Enquiry and FALLS

* No offence Jason, I mean it well. Also I know the guy's name is Vince Clarke. Seriously though the guy has been in Depeche Mode, Yazoo and Erasure. Not just one pioneering synth pop group but three! That's impressive. 


Friday, December 16, 2016

The Best Shows of 2016

Obviously these are the best shows I have been to in 2016. So many great gigs other people have been to will not be on the list. The list is rather flawed as my number system works on rating the band itself rather than the show. Many bands haven't been rated, and some have been scrapped from the list because of repeated scores. But this is roughly the best shows I have seen this year.

Unsurprisingly  Jeff Lynnes' ELO (9.6/10) are at the top of my list. While many aspects of live shows I usually go to were missing, (cheap tickets, meeting the band after, getting to mosh/dance around) ELO had incredible stage projections, musicianship and a set list packed full of classics,  which made 90 minutes feel like half an hour. Bring Me The Horizon (9.2) proved why they are one of the few modern British metal bands to break through into the big leagues with a fantastic set at the FKANIA*.
The Zombies (9.2) are one of the most effortlessly brilliant live bands I've ever seen. Much of their Lunar Festival set was made up of the band talking about their own legacy. However this didn't feel egotistical in the slightest as they had a warm humour and understanding of the importance of their music. As such they played most of their classic 'Odyssey and Oracle' LP and some Argent hits too. Bentley Rhythm Ace (9.2) put on a show like no other band I've ever seen. A live Drum N' Bass/big beat extravaganza, complete with fire breathers, exotic dancers, an air raid siren, and a converted Mini Cooper DJ sound-system. BRA know how to party. Mercury Rev (8.8) are surprisingly brilliant live, as unsurprisingly are King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (8.8) whose 90 minute Hare and Hounds flew by. It was a crazy show, full of extended solos, moshing and psych blasted madness. Another highlight of the Lunar festival were Rhino and The Ranters (8.8), who put on a hugely entertaining set of rockabilly tunes in a packed out tent.  Another big surprise was the dutch 'comic jazz' group The Busquitos (8.4). A free show in Solihull's Mell Square which was loads of fun. Featuring about 90 minutes of trad jazz standards, with added serenades for certain audience members. I am proud to say that I saw Skepta (8.4) in one of his few 'Konnichiwa' shows at the Rainbow Warehouse. A straightforward no thrills hour of non stop bangers. Crywank, ALLUSONDRUGS, Black Mekon and Dorcha all scored 8 respectively. All of these are favourite bands of mine yet hugely different in styleSuper Furry Animals (7.6) were a tad disappointing, but made up for it by dressing up as Yeti's and playing 'The man don't give a fuck' in it's entirety. BMTH's Support act Don Broco (7.6) were nowhere near as shit as I was expecting. Given a few years they could headline arenas themselves.

Some unrated acts include MC Starstrukk, who impressed me with his gnarly take on grime beats and lyrics that Sacha Baron Cohen, would think a bit too rude. Max Raptor at the rainbow and God Damn at the Sunflower Lounge were both loud as fuck. But only the latter turned the small room into a sauna of moshing. While INME's Dave Mcpherson played a great set at The Sunflower Lounge of heartfelt acoustic Ballardry
In case you were wondering, the lowest rating I've given to a performer all year goes to Badly Drawn Boy (4.8). For his rather disappointing and depressing set at the Lunar Festival this year. Although even he may not be the worst act I saw this year. 
Ultimately I feel annoyed that I have missed so many great shows later in the year. Including many I've had tickets for. 2016 has proved that my obsession with live music shows so signs of ever stopping. 
*The venue formerly known as the National Indoor Arena.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why you should give Sacred Bones all your money.

I advise you to seek out news sources about the protests currently occurring at Standing Rock in North Dakota USA. However the gist of it is that there is an oil pipeline being built on Sioux native American territory. Thousands are currently protesting this as it could contaminate the water supply of the native American tribe. The  protesters claim that the pipeline is being built on ancient burial grounds, which are legally owned by the native Americans due to a 1851 treaty. The protesters also claim to have been subjected to unnecessary force by the police officers on the site.
The independent label Sacred Bones has stated that as of December 4th their entire bandcamp page will be pay what you want. With all proceeds from the downloads going directly to support the Standing Rock protests. For years Sacred Bones has been home to many of the most pioneering underground artists from all over the world. This is a golden opportunity for music lovers around the world to sample the many fantastic releases on display. It is hard enough to keep an independent label running at the best of times. So it is incredibly noble (and fitting considering the labels name) to do this. Therefore I would like to recommend a handful of artists that are worth your time.  

Follakzoid were the big surprise of my Lunar Festival 2015. Filling in for another band on extremely short notice on the afternoon before another show, their set was a highlight of the festival. Follakzoid are a krautrock band from Chile whose songs are very minimalist, with small hints of guitar melody,  droning vocals and constant drum rhythms. Follakzoid are the perfect band for people like me who love the funky grooves of CAN but are put off by how utterly terrifying much of their music is.

John Carpenter has directed many movies. From masterpieces such as 'The Thing', 'The Fog' and 'Halloween'. The brilliantly daft 'Big trouble in little china', and crap such as 'Vampires'. While his status as one of horror's great directors is set in stone. However his contribution to electronic music is somewhat overlooked. Many of his films were sound tracked by the man himself, and despite being in his 70's he is currently releasing albums of 'Lost Soundtracks' and touring them across the world.

Marching Church is the project of Elias Bender Rønnenfelt of post-punks Iceage. This years album 'Telling it like it is', is an electric mix of genre's. The album has a jittery, lo-fi feel with an unpredictable nature. The tense post-punk feel of Iceage is still present yet songs such as 'inner city pigeon' show both an anger and intelligence alongside his developing song-writing skill.

Lust for Youth are one of many great bands who have grown out of the Copenhagen scene. This years album 'Compassion' is a masterclass in 80's style synth-pop, taking cues from bands such as New Order yet still sounding incredibly classy, fresh and unique.

I would also like to recommend Jenny Hval, Marissa Nadler and Exploded View. Who I may write about in more detail soon as I will be downloading their albums on the 4th. I would also like to mention that if anyone from Sacred Bones is reading this, I would like to recommend a band from Birmingham called 'Dorcha' who would fit your roster perfectly.

I would also like to recommend an album by William Doyle. The sole member of the now sadly defunct East India Youth. Who has just released an album under his own name on bandcamp. The 'Dream Derealised' is an album of demo's he recorded while struggling with mental health problems.
The £1 cost goes to help fund the mental health charity Mind.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bands to watch in 2017! (The Beat Town Blog Freshmen list)

I've beaten everyone to the punch with the first edition of the most pointless music related list that everyone does at the start of each year. That being the 'bands to watch in _______"  list. This year I have decided to basically just write about bands I like. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

The Beat Town Blog Freshmen list. 

Black Mekon
Black Mekon
Brummie heroes Black Mekon seem like a band tailor made to my own tastes. They wear sharp suits and kato masks on stage, they have a bomb as part of their drum kit and play the most deliciously raw, sleazy and bluesy take on Rock' N Roll I've heard all year. Black Mekon are about as cool as Rock music gets.

When I saw Dorcha  it was at the Town Hall in Birmingham. Famous for it's acoustics and classic architecture the music of could not have complimented it's surrounding better. Dorcha's music is a surreal take on goth. There is a surreal beauty in the way they mix classical instruments with electronica. The sound they make isn't too far off from the early work of Arcade Fire or Portishead,  but no comparisons can accurately sum up their music. Dorcha are totally unique.

Crime & Punishment 2011/ J-Dead
It only seems fitting to include Crime & Punishment 2011 on this list as I've covered their shows extensively over their first year as a band. Their mix of witch-house, grime and metal confuses and thrills in equal measure. Their shows are intense spectacles of existential angst and frenzied screaming. While member Jake's side project J-Dead, has more of a relaxed, spoken word style. Both will  probably be releasing plenty of new music over 2017.

Luke Rainsford
Luke is a busy lad, helping several bands out while also being a full time solo performer. Now that his main band Layover have split up the focus is on his own acoustic song-writing.  His début album 'I'm nothing like my dad turned out to be' is an intensely personal record, detailing love, heartbreak, mental health and the trials of growing up.It has made many people get emotional at his several solo shows across 2016. His second album is out Feburary 17th.

Abel Gray 
Despite all the  hype around grime at the moment I feel that much of the most vital hip-hop/rap in the UK exists outside of that scene. While birmingham  may be known for Lady Leishurr, it's got an underground scene worth hearing as well. Abel Gray is a fine example of this. Much like Drake a lot of the appeal of his music comes from his likeability. He also has a similarly laid back approach but, mixed in with a humour and an experimental style that is all his own.
Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam
It's with some regret I admit that I've not seen Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam live. I get the feeling that  they are probably pretty amazing. Their several self released albums are all worth listening too. SFL play 90's style grunge/alt-rock with all the power and angst it deserves, with a surreal twist of their own. They stand out in a crowded market simply because their songs are better, and more memorable than what the completion has to offer.

Blackash's Debut Ep has been released on a limited run of 333 copies by the Birmingham record shop/label Swordfish. It's on blood red/black splatter vinyl and has been released alongside a rare 'lost' Arthur Brown record. The first track from the bands début EP 'Black Witch' is a ten minute long psychedelic freak-out. Which evokes Primal Scream at their darkest. Mixing elements of both acid house and stoner rock, with nihilistic lyrics and krautrock style grooves. This is as cool as psychedelic rock gets.

Honourable mentions.
The Fidgets, Karl Monroe, Castillions, Sox, Lady Leishurr (obv), Chartreuse, Blank Parody, Enemo-J, JJ Pluto, Bathtub, Fullshore, Dearist, Enquiry, Lady Sanity, Wax Futures, History Of Sex, Enquiry...
Note: Smart Casual were on this list until they announced their spilt with their singer. If they continue as a group they will still be worthy Beat Town blog Freshmen. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Bring Me The Horizon + Don Broco + Basement. Live at the Barclaycard Arena (NIA) review (4/11/16)

Basement's (6/10) (presumably named because they never thought they'd play arenas) take on grunge is earning them a loyal fanbase. They seem like the kind of band that I'd like to see in a smaller venue as they did seem a bit lost on the BCA stage. However that's not down to a lack of good tunes. A lot of fans also showed up for Don Broco (7.6). A band I've never rated up until this point. They seem to exist in a sort of limbo, too laddish for the emo crowd, yet too clean cut for the indie kids. Yet their no nonsense rock tunes seem tailor made for huge arenas, and by the end of the show there was a sense that they could easily be head-liners in their own right.
You've got to hand it to Bring Me The Horizon (9.2), they've earned their status as one of the UK's biggest and best rock/metal bands. They've survived losing members, being bottled, Ketamine addiction, depression, and metal-head elitism. From their start as hyped, metalcore screamers to the arena slaying behemoths they are today. Last years 'That's The Spirit' may have taken big steps away from their roots but it's also exactly the album they need to make. 11 tracks of brilliantly written and slickly produced metal anthems.
It's not surprising that I've looked forward to this show more than any other this year. It's also not surprising that the majority of the setlist comes from that album. after the crowd being suitably warmed up by the supports, there was excitement in the air for BMTH's arrival on-stage. Their stage was made up almost entirely of lights, projecting scenes and images behind them. Rather than just a bit of a backdrop of lights or a video screen of the band, BMTH mix a bit of both, creating an immersive experience. For the bands entrance the screens cracked slightly with each power chord, before smashing entirely as the band launched into 'Happy Song'. Most bands would save their confetti and a song as good as that right for the very end. Yet right from the start BMTH played songs that were prefect for shouting along too. Strangely enough total carnage doesn't seem to follow Oli Sykes wherever he goes any-more. He encouraged a moshpit at the end of one song, but it only lasted a few seconds, even if a huge circle opened in the centre of the room. Instead Oli now has to encourage the crowd to jump about by getting everyone to crouch down then jump up (a trick borrowed by Don Broco earlier). Not that it bothers him, he seemed genuinely thrilled by the reaction of the crowd, claiming that Birmingham is one of their favourite places to play, and that he wanted to high five every one of us.
While 'Chelsea Smile' was thrown in as a treat for fans that had been there since day one, it's newer tracks such as 'Doomed' and 'Oh No' that seem to point where the future's headed. The former began with a spoken word section about life, death and the problems in-between to a backdrop of flowers growing to full bloom. While Oh No shows that BMTH have the skill to write pop songs that other bands would kill for, all set to a pink, 80's style backdrop. Yet it was the NU Metal-ish anthem 'Throne' which in Oli's words was the one to remember. At least until the triumphant closer of 'Drown' (with more confetti). Ultimately BMTH have become arena head-liners with huge confidence, style and an armada of anthems.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

We need another subculture (a manifesto)

For a long time the only real meaning of the term 'subculture' referred to a club which I really wanted to go when I was older but closed down by the time I was old enough to enter. Nowadays we are living in a world where everything is available at the touch of a button. Why go and find a girl when you can stay in and watch porn? why go to the cinema when you can stream films directly to your TV.  I worry that culture is being slowly replaced by a series of packages that are available at only £10 each, including next day delivery which ensures that you never have to leave your house again. Night-life has taken a huge hit over the past few years. High profile examples include the closure of Fabric in London and the threats to Ministry Of Sound. What's more worrying is the story of The Owl Sanctuary in Leeds which was closed after the furniture shop across the street bought the rights to the building, without the owners knowledge or consent. 
Someday's I feel like I wasn't meant for this world of Tinder, snapchat, David Guetta remixes and endless Buzzfeed quizzes. With my cheekbones, I'd have made a great New Wave kid, or a hippy or a ska-kid. For a long time I was an indie kid, but I now longer feel a part of that culture. The emo trend is alive and well but the maturity and responsibility of adulthood makes it difficult to stick with in your 20's. Metal head culture will never die, while Chav culture was never really a culture anyway. 'Mod' has been reduced to Ben Sherman shirts and scooters, and the New Americana thing can fuck off. 
The Hipster trend is a conscious fight against the gentrification and consumerism of today. While I love craft beers and I like my beard, It's not something that unites people, it's far too pretentious.
If you haven't got the point, subcultures are the enemy of the gentrification of modern society. It's why hippies were banned from holding free festivals in the 1970's and history repeated itself during the acid house years of the early 90's. By growing our own food and supporting our local communities we can help keep the old ways alive. The revival of vinyl is just one example of hipsters going out of their way to support local industry's and avoid the streaming services. 
To paraphrase Liam Gallagher 'I want to start a revolution from my room'. While music is constantly evolving, I want a look and an attitude that goes along with it. It's why I feel in love with the antic's of Odd Future back in 2011, and the dirty glamour of B-Town in 2012. When the looks of past subcultures have been tamed, faked and reproduced at low cost in high street stores, and the sounds rehashed, there is nothing to truly believe in. I'm not bemoaning the lack of good music, I just want to feel part of something. Years of depression have taught me that you can only ever live in the present,  our present is a dark, scary and uncertain place, but our rose tinted nostalgia of tomorrow, needs to be based on memories and events. Not the pointless sweets, TV shows, and nonsense of the current 90's nostalgia. So dye your hair strange colours, wear odd clothes, make strange music and make friends with like minded people. Keep doing this until something sticks. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The best albums of 2016

1.      The Avalanches – Wildflower 
      Few bands have ever chosen an album title as fitting as ‘Since I Left You..’ considering that it took them 16 years to release the follow up. While their classic début resembled an Avalanche by starting small before building into something bigger and faster with each track. Wildflower resembles a road trip, taking detours into hip hop, soul and disco. In fact Wilflower resembles the psychedelic feel of The Zombies than any other DJ’s you could mention. While the Avalanches use all their usual sampling tricks. They have expanded on their sound by playing instruments and collaborating with other musicians such as Kevin Parker and Jonathon Donahue. The end result is the soundtrack to a dream summer that you'd never want to end. Key Track – Colours
2.      Crywank - Don't piss on me, I'm already dead
 Crywank's name is oddly fitting. JC sings about his life and emotions in a way that is painfully honest, both self-mocking and pitying at the same time. Crywank have a knack for balancing their self pity with dark humour. Their finger picked guitar playing is stunning throughout and the pleasing lo-fi sound of their early recordings is still present. Yet they take big steps into sounding like a proper band, mixing elements of punk rock into their sad funk stew. While they may doubt their talent, this is an album that Crywank can be proud of. Key Track – Love 

3.      Whitney - Light Upon The Lake
Remember the episode of King of the Hill where Bobby Hill is heartbroken? He’s listening to country music and Hank Hill remarks that at least his music taste has improved? You probably don’t. The point is that Light upon the Lake is an album of beautifully wistful balladry. While it harks back to the likes of Neil Young and Paul Simon, Light upon the lake is no mere throwback. It’s an album of heartfelt country songs, which will be handed down to heartbroken sons for generations to come. Which even Bobby Hill would take some comfort in.
Key Track – Light Upon The Lake.

4.      Show Me The Body - Body War
I have a theory about NYC. While many bands hail from there, only a select few truly represent the sound of the city. I also believe that for every 1000 punk bands, only a few are willing to take the genre forward and create their own blueprint for it. In that sense Show Me that Body are one of the best and most exciting punk bands in a generation. They have a sound, style and attitude that is totally their own, and ‘Body War’ is a thrilling manifesto.

5.      David Bowie – Blackstar
When I first heard of David Bowie’s passing, I was upset because having heard this album, I was convinced he was about to enter another golden phase of his career. In hindsight it was obvious that Blackstar was intended to be his final album. Yet he took such bold steps into jazz, Drum and bass and even Hip-Hop, that even with death looming on the lyrics of each song he sounded more energetic and experimental than he had in years. Blackstar is an enigma wrapped in a riddle and also one of David Bowie's best ever albums.  Key Track – Girl loves me 
6.      Car Seat Headrest - Teens Of Denial
To the Fans who discovered CSH through their treasure chest of Bandcamp albums, Will Toledo’s breakout album may sound a bit normal. Yet thanks to a decent production job Will’s talent for funny, and bitterly honest observations about his own mental health can now be heard much clearer. Such as on the brilliantly ironic ballad ‘Drugs with Friends’. His refusal to limit his own songs is present as well. While the grungey rock, on TOD, might resemble early Foo Fighters/Weezer, there is an intelligence and musical ability far beyond either of those bands. CSH stretch their songs to the absolute limit, and wear their nerdiness with pride. 'Teens of denial'  is proof that Will Toledo is one of the best songwriters of his generation. Key Track - Destroyed by Hippie Powers 
7.      King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Nonagon Infinity
Nonagon Infinity never ends or begins. It’s a constant loop of mental psychedelic noise. Led by the possible genius of Stu Mackenzie, and backed by the frantic noise of two drummers. Nonagon Infinity is the sort of brilliant nonsense that could only be written by a group of stoned aussies.  Next year they will release 5 albums. I can't wait. Key Track – Gamma Knife

8.      Clipping - Splendor and Misery
The short description of Splendor and Misery is ‘Roots in Space’. The long description is that it is a Sci-Fi-Hip-Hop concept album that tells the story of a rogue slave who takes control of the star-ship that was transporting him. Only to find himself alone travelling through space, rapping over the industrial noise of the ships electronics to keep himself sane. Broadway star Daveed Diggs narrates the story over a barrage of forward thinking production. Clipping manage to strip hip hop to it's very core, while experimenting with industrial noise and gospel music. Alongside the white-noise of  songs such as 'Baby Don't Sleep', 'True Believer' and 'A better place' find hope in the most harrowing of situations.  Key track – True Believer

9.      Skepta – Konnichiwa
Konnichiwa had to be good. With some of grimes best ever singles, a long wait and Skepta becoming a figurehead of the grime revival, Konnichiwa HAD to be good. Thankfully it’s every bit as good as it was hyped up to be. Skepta pulls the neat trick of collaborating with American MC’s and producers to embrace different sounds. Such as on the trippy ‘Ladies Hit Squad’ or the dirty south styled, 'It Aint Safe'. Yet Skepta remains uniquely British in character and true to grime’s roots. Put simply, Konnichiwa is full of bangers. It flows like a collection of grime’s greatest hits. A worthy Mercury winner.  Key Track - Shutdown 

10.  Levelz - LVL11
It’s a shame that the current Grime revival is so focussed on artists from London. Other than Bugzy Malone, the true stars of Manchester grime are LEVELZ. A collective of Mancunian MC’s and producers who are Grimes' answer to The Happy Mondays. Throughout their début mixtape LEVELZ dabble in many different styles, such as ska and garage. While they specialise in bangers. Songs such as ‘Drug Dealer’ proves that they can be clever as well as funny. There isn’t an MC in the collective who doesn’t have both a brilliant flow and thick Mancunian accent. For a freebie, it’s essential listening. Download at -
11. Run The Jewels - RTJ3
12. Kendrick Lamar - Untitled Unmastered ( releases album of demos, still awesome)
13. Blank Banshee – Mega (
14. Danny Brown – The Atrocity Exhibition (A Hip-Hop Masterpiece)  
15. Michael Kiwanuka - Love and Hate (A masterpiece of modern soul)
16. The Pretenders – Alone (Chrissie Hynde finds pleasure in solitude)
17. Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression (Iggy at his best)
18.  Bon Iver - 22, a Million (This is either a masterpiece or just a lot of dicking about) 
19. Metallica - Hardwired... To self destruct (80+ Minutes of Thrash)
20.  Preoccupations - Preoccupations (the post punk soundtrack to my 'Anxiety')
21.  Amber Arcades - Fading Lines (Gorgeous psychedelic tinged indie rock)
22.  Parquet Courts - Human Performance (the album I've always wanted them to make)
23.  Chance The Rapper - Colouring Book (
24.  Injury Reserve - FLOSS (
25.  Metronomy - Summer 08 
26.  Crystal Castles - Amnesty (not Ethan's best, but still pretty great)  
27.  Denzel Curry - Imperial (
28.  Slaves - Take Control (P U N K AS F U C K)   
29.  Goat – Requiem
30.  Connor Oberst - Ruminations
31.  Josefin Orhn + The Liberacion – Mirage
32.  Savages - Adore life (they've cheered up a bit, and they sound better than ever).    
33.  Allan Kingdom - Northern Lights (
34.  Jeff Beck - Loud Hailer (Guitar legend, makes political electronica)
35.  DJ Shadow - The Mountain will fall. (Trip-hop legend makes trap)
36.  Luke Rainsford - I'm nothing like my father turned out to be. (
37.  Death Grips- Bottomless Pit (if you know, you know)
38.  Purson - Desire's Magic Theatre (DMT, Gettit?)
39.  Field Harmonics - Corners (ace electro pop début)
40.  Flamingods - Majesty (T R I P P Y A S F U C K)
41.  Riz MC - Englistan (empowered political rap mixtape)
42.  Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
43.  Raised by Owls - The Great British Grind Off (
44.  Bat For Lashes - The Bride (not Natasha's best, but still pretty good)
45.  Noname - Telefone (
46.  Young Thug -  No, my name is Jeffrey (Young Thug's best, actually good)
47.  Fat White Family - Songs For Our Mothers (a demoniacally evil wreck of an album)
48. Lust For Youth - Compassion
49. Marching Church - Telling it like it is.
50. John Carpenter - Lost Themes 2. 

Note: This will likely be changed a lot before the final draft in December. Many great albums are not included simply because I have not bothered to listen to them.